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Our Entire Civilization Is Structured Around Keeping Us From Realizing We Can Do This

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The video footage coming out of Sri Lanka right now has been the recurring nightmare of every ruler throughout history.

Thousands of protesters outraged by the deteriorating material conditions of the nation’s economic meltdown have stormed the presidential palace of Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and I guarantee you the aerial footage as they poured into the building en masse has made every government leader and plutocrat a little uncomfortable today.

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Just look at that. Look at all those people flooding in there. That is some truly awe-inspiring power. Imagine how terrifying it would be to find yourself on the receiving end of it.

I don’t know enough about what’s going on in Sri Lanka yet to comment with any authority on what powers might be at play in this uprising, but I do know that every ruler throughout history has spent time envisioning what would happen if a crowd that size decided to storm their base of operation. If their numbers became too great to suppress, or if your forces who would be doing the suppressing joined the ranks of the people instead, the best-case scenario for you is that you’d have already fled the building by that point, as Rajapaksa had the good sense to do shortly before the building was stormed. If enough angry people get their hands on you, it won’t matter if they’re armed with rockets or pistols or their own bare hands; you are in for a violent end.

If you’ve ever wondered why so much energy goes into keeping everyone propagandized in our society, this is why. If you’ve ever wondered why our rulers work so hard to keep us divided against each other, this is why. If you’ve ever wondered why we’re always being instructed to take our grievances to the voting booth even though we learn in election after election that it never changes the things that most desperately need to change, this is why.

Our entire civilization is structured around preventing scenes like the one we’re seeing in Sri Lanka today. Our education systems, our political systems, our media, our online information. Religions that have been around for thousands of years because the powerful endorsed and promulgated them are full of passages extolling the virtues of obedience, poverty, meekness, and rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. From the moment we are born our heads are filled with stories about why it’s good and right to consent to the status quo and why it would be wrong to take back what has been stolen from us by a predatory ruling class.

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Left of Left Has Released Its First Ever 2022 Election Endorsements

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Unequal Justice: How the Highest Court Is Advancing Voter Suppression

The Supreme Court is turning back the clock on election law.

BY BILL BLUM 

If I asked you to name the most important opinion handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court during Earl Warren’s sixteen-year tenure (1953-69) as Chief Justice, you’d probably cite Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark, unanimous ruling that ended legal segregation in public schools. 

Warren himself was asked this exact question in a televised interview with the McClatchy News Service that aired on June 25, 1969, two days after he formally stepped down from the bench. Without understating the importance of Brown, he singled out Baker v. Carr, the 1962 decision on reapportionment, redistricting, and gerrymandering that established the doctrine of “one person, one vote.” 

As Warren explained:

“I think the reapportionment not only of state legislatures but of representative government in this country is perhaps the most important issue we’ve had before the Supreme Court.

“If everyone in this country has an opportunity to participate in his government on equal terms with everyone else, and can share in electing representatives who will be truly representative of the entire community and not some special interest, then most of the problems that we are confronted with would be solved through the political process rather than through the courts.”

Four years after deciding Baker, the court issued another pivotal decision in South Carolina v. Katzenbach, upholding the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

Flash forward to the present day, and the Supreme Court has shifted on its axis. Now dominated by conservatives, including three hard-right members nominated by President Donald Trump, the court appears determined to turn back the clock on election law to the early 1950s and undo the last vestiges of Warren’s voting rights legacy. 

The court’s latest act of electoral sabotage came in a 5-4 ruling, issued on February 7, that reinstated a new Alabama Congressional map created after the 2020 census for the state’s seven seats in the House of Representatives. Chief Justice John Roberts, the architect of much of the court’s recent voting rights carnage, was so disturbed by the majority’s decision that he joined the court’s three Democratic appointees in dissent. 

In January, a three-judge federal district court panel overturned the Alabama map as an illegal “racial gerrymander” in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The section prohibits voting practices and procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in a minority language group. Private parties as well as the federal government can file civil lawsuits to enforce the act.  

The new map was challenged by the Alabama chapter of the NAACP and other plaintiffs, who noted that while Black people comprise 27 percent of the state’s residents, the map concentrated one-third of Black residents into a single voting district. The net effect was to create one Black majority voting district while dispersing the rest of the Black population across the state.  

In support of their suit, the plaintiffs cited a series of Supreme Court decisions on the Voting Rights Act from the 1980s and 1990s that struck down race-based gerrymanders which weaken the power of minority voters, either by “packing” minority populations into a few districts or by spreading them throughout the state, a practice called “cracking.”  

The district court concluded that Alabama’s map, if fairly drawn, would either provide two districts with Black voting majorities or multiple districts “in which Black voters [would] otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.” The judges ordered the state to redraw the map.

At the state of Alabama’s request, the Supreme Court intervened with an emergency “shadow docket” ruling, issuing a stay of the district court’s decision without holding oral arguments or receiving a full briefing. As several academics and journalists have noted, the court’s shadow docket grew exponentially during the Trump presidency, and the trend is continuing.

As with many shadow docket matters, the court’s stay order on the Alabama map is technically temporary in nature, as the case will be taken up for full formal review next term. In the meantime, however, the map will remain in place, giving the state’s Republicans an undeserved advantage in the midterms. 


While the court’s final ruling on the Alabama case remains pending, there is little reason to believe it will ultimately invalidate the rigged map. Although Chief Justice Roberts joined the court’s liberals at the shadow docket stage in opposing a stay, he could easily change course when the case is decided on the merits. 

Roberts’s overall record on voting rights has been abysmal. He was the author of the 5-4 majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), which gutted the Voting Rights Act’s “pre-clearance” provisions that required state and local jurisdictions with histories of discrimination to obtain advance federal approval before implementing changes in voting procedures. 

Since then, voter suppression techniques in GOP-controlled states have proliferated at a rate not seen since the Jim Crow era.

In another crippling blow, Roberts wrote the majority opinion in Rucho v. Common Cause (2019), which held that partisan gerrymandering, no matter how extreme, presents a nonjusticiable “political question” beyond the jurisdiction of federal judges. He also joined his Republican soulmates last year in a pair of 6-3 decisions from Arizona that further weakened Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. 

Looking to Roberts to act as a savior on voting rights is a fool’s errand. As Linda Greenhouse wrote in a New York Times guest column on February 9, in reference to the Alabama map ruling, “You know the Rubicon has been crossed when the Supreme Court issues a conservative voting rights order so at odds with settled precedent and without any sense of the moment that Chief Justice John Roberts feels constrained to dissent.”

To appreciate just how far our highest court has fallen, you only need to replay Warren’s McClatchy interview. If Warren were alive today, he would likely be a vocal advocate for court reform. But, alas, his voting rights legacy is looking more and more like a mournful epitaph.

[Source]

2022 U.S. Elections Are At Grave Risk From Republican Extremists

We are arriving at a tipping point where fascists can overtake this nation and they’d have Fox News, evangelicals and the like supporting their efforts, apologizing for it and then even justifying it.

By John Amato

2022 U.S. Elections Are At Grave Risk From Republican Extremists
Image from: Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Whitmer was the target of a kidnapping plot planned by a paramilitary group called Wolverine Watchmen, a group whose goal was “civil war leading to societal collapse” before being thwarted on Oct 8th, 2020.

The Michigan governor most likely would have been murdered by these seditious, anti-American traitors.

Then we learned that Ohio Gov. Mike De Wine and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam were also targeted for kidnapping.

All three governors supported early state lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

If these kidnappings had been successful, these governors would have been put on trial for tyranny. And as we’ve seen with radical crazies, they would have been executed, most probably live-streamed.

The anti-United States cult of Trump and their support for an overthrow of a duly elected government played their best hand on January 6. Fueled by Traitor Trump and his despicable minions’ unconscionable behavior, thousands of MAGA cultists stormed the US Capitol, hunting for politicians to arrest.

Many chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” as they built a gallows outside the Capitol walls and we can only imagine what would’ve happened if they were successful in capturing even a single congressperson, let alone Speaker Pelosi or VP Pence?

Now we see Americans buying guns a rapid rate and this is similarly alarming. The NY Times writes, “But beneath the timeworn political cycle on guns in the United States, the country’s appetite for firearms has only been increasing, with more being bought by more Americans than ever before.”

Conservatives have relentlessly fear-mongered the lie that millions of immigrants are coming into our country through our southern borders to steal our homes, and that Antifa will destroy your neighborhoods.

20 states have passed laws that do not require a permit for concealed carry.

Former Trump reprobates like Mike Flynn, a former General and pardoned felon are still hoping for a Myanmar-like overthrow of our government.

What is this leading up to?

Gun dealers have been marketing their wares to violent extremist groups like the Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers and Proud Boy groups. who haven’t gone away, just receded into the background to evade the FBI.

We know they are lurking, waiting.

Outside of targeting politicians that either refused to overturn a free and fair presidential election or supported instituting CDC guidelines to combat COVID, the new targets may be polling locations and voters around the country, including the swing states. Maybe especially in the swing states.

Right-wing state legislators are trying to undermine the integrity of our entire Constitution — A government of the people, by the people, for the people — by passing immoral and illegal voting restrictions targeted at the working class and minority populations. They are trying to pass legislation that puts the election results to be determined by a hand picked enclave of Republican activists, not the voters, even the people they deem eligible to be voters.

If a concerted effort is made by these right-wing militia groups beholden to Trump to intimidate voters, vote counters and to even shut down polling locations, how would local municipalities handle this? Trump won the 2016 election by three states only. There needs to be protections ready and waiting to thwart any effort to undermine the right to vote in every state.

As a precursor to the present, back in the highly contested 2000 election in Florida, the famed Brooks Brother riots were held to shut down the recounting of votes that eventually helped award George W. Bush the presidency.

Roger Stone was one who took credit for organizing Republican staffers to demonstrate, but it “turned violent and, according to The New York Times, “several people were trampled, punched or kicked when protesters tried to rush the doors outside the office of the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections. Sheriff’s deputies restored order.”

Within two hours the recount was stopped.

They got what they wanted.

These were GOP staffers wearing suits, not gun wielding psychopaths who would have no problem pulling the trigger against defenseless Americans. Many of those staffers ended up in key Trump administration positions.

We are arriving at a tipping point where fascists can overtake this nation and they’d have Fox News, evangelicals and the like supporting their efforts, apologizing for it and then even justifying it.

[Source]

The Messy Truth About America That the Right Wing Can’t Bear to Admit

The messy truth about America that the right wing can't bear to admitTim Scott John Stoehr May 03, 2021

This article was paid for by AlterNet subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

I got a second dose Saturday. I was bed-ridden Sunday. I’m feeling better today, but writing is hard labor. I won’t do the usual dissection of recent events. I’ll instead swing for the fences and see what happens. Even if I strike out, it might prove to be useful.

The president and the vice president were asked last week if Tim Scott is right. In a GOP response to the State of the Union address to the United States Congress, the United States Senator said America is not a racist country. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris agreed. America is not racist country. But, they said, there is work to do.

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Conservative Maps Out Why the ‘Derangement of the Republican Party’ is Only Getting Worse

Conservative maps out why 'the 'derangement of the Republican Party' is only getting worse

Donald Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, Wikimedia Commons 

Alex Henderson May 03, 2021

The state of the Republican Party in the Biden era was the topic of a robust discussion on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on May 3, with a panel of guests agreeing with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that the GOP has become increasingly unhinged.

The guests included conservative pundit Charlie Sykes — a blistering critic of former President Donald Trump — Financial Times’ Ed Luce, the Associated Press’s Jonathan Lemire, and Eddie Glaude, Jr., a professor of African-American studies at Princeton University who is often featured as a liberal pundit on MSNBC.

Scarborough, a Never Trump conservative and former GOP congressman, noted that pro-Trump Republicans have been going after Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming with a vengeance for condemning Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection — and that in Maricopa County, Arizona, Republicans have been conducting an overtly partisan audit of the votes in the 2020 presidential election. Those things, according to Sykes, not only illustrate “the derangement of the Republican Party” but also, the “acceleration of the derangement of the Republican Party.”

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New Poll Confirms the GOP’s Fears on Voting Rights

New poll confirms the GOP's fears on voting rights

Rep. Kevin McCarthy // PBS NewsHour 

Kenny Stancil and Common Dreams May 03, 2021

Zero GOP lawmakers have backed the For the People Act, congressional Democrats’ comprehensive plan to strengthen U.S. democracy by making it easier to vote, curbing partisan gerrymandering, and limiting the influence of money in politics.

Republican voters, however, support many of the proposals in the 800-page bill, according to a new poll released Monday.

The survey (pdf) of 1,138 likely voters across the country—conducted from April 16 to April 19 by Data for Progress on behalf of Vox—found that, when presented without partisan cues, the voting rights and election reform bill is popular with voters across party lines. Overall, 69% of the electorate supports the For the People Act, including 52% of Republicans, 70% of Independents, and 85% of Democrats.

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The For the People Act Must Pass In Whole

Some academics and pundits have been postulating that the campaign finance, gerrymandering, and other reform provisions of S. 1, the For the People Act, should be dropped, and the Senate should proceed to try to pass only the voting rights provisions of the bill.

This approach makes zero strategic sense.

There is nothing to indicate that taking out key democracy reforms from the bill will improve the chances of passing S. 1.

There is a powerful case, however, for why this should not be done.

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